149 Child Sex Trafficking Victims Rescued In Nationwide Sting


The FBI and local authorities arrested 150 pimps and johns and rescued 149 sexually exploited children in a nationwide sweep last week, dubbed Operation Cross Country.

In the operation's ninth year, authorities netted more recoveries and arrests than in any previous enforcement year, the FBI reported Tuesday. The sting spanned more than 135 American cities, with about 500 agencies working together with the FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help save victims.

“Our mission is to protect the American people -- especially our children -- from harm,” FBI Director James Comey said. “When kids are treated as a commodity in seedy hotels and on dark roadsides, we must rescue them from their nightmare and severely punish those responsible for that horror. We simply must continue to work with our partners to end the scourge of sex trafficking in our country.”

For the second year in a row, Denver task forces rescued the most children as part of the sting, with 20 minors recovered. One of the victims was a 14-year-old girl who was being trafficked on Colfax Avenue by a gang member.

The youngest victim in this year’s operation was 12 years old. Three of the 149 minors recovered were transgender, and three were males, the FBI reported.